Welcome to a work in progress

This blog is dedicated to the restoration and modification of a Glasfl├╝gel Standard Libelle H201B, and a tribute to those who have dared to do the same, and to those who are helping with seeing this dream take flight.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Week 4 and we are dancing the same dance, .... again!

Well, it's week 4, the end of 2013, and we are dancing the same dance again! You Remember... one step forward, two, to three steps back!

Joseph has been working feverishly to get the glider ready to paint prior to the week of Christmas, so when I'm off that week, we can finish prepping the glider for paint.

At the end of week 3, Joseph found himself over the barrel on an extreme learning curve. After spending the entire week of smoothing down the top of the right wing, he thought he was done and ready to work on the left wing, but was told that he was close  on getting the airfoil correct. There were some additional tools he needed to verify his work.

So, with the tools in hand, and on the day that I arrived to spend the week working on prepping the glider, we spent two days correcting some minor waviness on the top of the right wing.

By Monday, we were able to start on the left wing, which took the two of us three days to correct same waviness issues.

Joseph worked on the canopy for a few hours to get a break from the work on the wing.. which was making him crazy!

So, where are we? ...

  well....... during the entire week, the temperature outside was too cold, and prevented any serious painting.

Only the application of Feather Fill and primer could be done.
After Sunday December 29th... The right wing is about ready for primer, 
the rudder is also just about ready for primer, and one elevator was primed.

During the week, questions were brought up, and resolved, like how to seal the wing? The question of sealing the break boxes was brought up , and resolved with adding a seal to the lower airbrake pushrods at the airbox junction on both wings. The additional seals will be added after the wings are finished.

That all being said, after a few set-backs, we are now over budget again, with about another 100 or so hours to complete the bird. With winter setting in over New Mexico, the temps will, for the most part be too cold to paint until spring (March'ish).

Joseph and I will continue to work on the odds and ends as I will need to be able to afford a few hours of work here and there.

We are shooting for April as the completion date. Fours years on this project! OUCH!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Three weeks in!

Well, we are three weeks into the final work.

Robert and Joseph have been hard at work getting the winglets installed.

They encountered a few issues. My wings did not align to the drawings and required some creative engineering to get the winglets to properly fit.

Robert had Joseph take some videos that are humorously familiar to a scene in the film the Sunship Games.

I will add that video to the blog soon.

Joseph has been working on refinishing the wings between working on the winglets and the repairs.

I will be jumping in this weekend.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The work continues this week

Since last weekend, and during the week, Joseph has been able to work on the left wing. The fairing is now blended into the wing, and now its time to fill any lows and level the area around the airbrake box.

The wing has slight low areas and the top surface is getting smooth.

But while he was working on the surface, I mentioned that the wing spar fork stubs need to be inspected.

Robert walked in just in time to take a look at it. There was some slight rust on the surface of the spar fork stub fitting. 

Robert referenced TN201-31 and found that the stub fittings will need to be inspected. Joseph removed the glass and Robert found that the fittings just needed to be cleaned up, chromite coated and then re-glassed.  That was good news, these did not need to be replaced.

The right wing still needs to be looked at.

Another winter storm has hit and bought a stop to the work since Joseph needs to drive through the pass to get to Moriarty. 

This weekend, we will need to see what Mother Nature still has to dish out!  

Monday, December 2, 2013

Some things never seem to change

I get the feeling that I'm cursed

Just when I think we have a plan, all hell breaks loose.

I was getting a feeling this weekend that this project was not going to get done as planned. Just like last year, I have found that my project at the airport will be put on the back burner for a spell.

The only time Joseph will be allowed to work on it is over the weekend since higher priority aircraft repairs are coming in now and the hanger will be soon again be filled with projects that will need to be finished before the next soaring season begins.

I hope it will not be sometime in March, (like last year) before things again slow down and my glider, like the groundhog emerges from the trailer to see the light of spring, and the hope of getting finished.

Like I said, cursed!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bound and Determined!

Joseph and I are as the topic title states; we are bound and determined to finish this plane by the end of the year. We have thirty days to do it in.

Joseph feels we have about 180 hours left. The only roadblock we discovered now is the spigot pins. Robert needs to inspect them. The is some corrosion and the glass around the mounts needs to be replaced. I just hope the pins don't need to be replaced.

The week before, Joseph put in 50 hours on repaing the delaminated seam on the fusalage spin and the final cleanup finishing on the fairings on the fuselage. They are crisp!

He also worked on the cleanup on the fuselage canopy tracks. Over the past week and a half, I cleaned up the resin squeeze out that was on the inside canopy frame. Joseph will be working on the final fit and fairing cleanup over this next week.

Today, we worked on the left wing. Joseph worked on the fairings, and we installed the new replacement aileron pushrod for the one that was corroded. I have finished glassing over the bolts in on the airbrakes.


With lights left on, the room is kept warm to allow the resin to cure overnite! 

Tomorrow, we start work on the left wing, filling, sanding the hopefully bob the wingtip for the winglets!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

One step foreward, two steps back - the Fuselage!

Howdy folks!
Here we are at it again! ... I'm getting tired of these dance steps.

While working on the Libelle fuselage, we noticed that the seam on the spine was starting to delaminate.

I cannot believe this crappy luck. Joseph noticed the hairline crack and pressed his thumb against it skin and the spine., with the sound of popping, the crack started to appear along the full length of the empennage. We dropped the Libelle off at Roberts to have him inspect the cracks.

Robert reported back to me stating that there was no chance of the fuselage separating, and the cracks can be easily repaired. Joseph was tasked in repairing the seam cracks today.

I have had enough with the delays and broken promises, and I'm reaching my breaking point and losing patience so I went to the bank to see if I can get some cash to finish this project once and for all!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Here we go again!

No, this is not an old photo. We are back on the project again, but doing what we can in my garage. With my wife still out of work, funds for the project are now little to none. Joseph wants to see this bird finished as much as I do, and will be coming over to the house on the weekends to get as much done as we can in the confined space.
Only time will tell....

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Moving On!

Here is a little more on the trailer saga.

Over the weekend, I managed to do some follow up on the final finishing on the trailer.

I noticed that the axel on one wheel was slightly toe out, and I might need to get the axel replaced. I will need to have the guys at the trailer shop take a look at it, but from what they stated, it was structurally sound.

Here is a bit of a closeup!
The final trim out on the electrical was completed, and the wiring bus turned out good.

I also added the cradle ramp anchor points.

Next weekend, we will paint the ramp to protect it from oxidizing.

The one internal part to add to wrap this up is the mount for the horizontal stabilizer. I have the material, I just now need to get it measured and fitted before anchoring it to the top.

Then we are off to the hanger with the glider!.

I hope soon!

Monday, October 7, 2013

One Step forward,Two Steps Back! .. and the Trailer is Done!

No,  we are not doing the Cha Cha

As promised, here is the rest of the story!

Are we still jacking with the trailer? .... and the answer is a resounding YES!
And did we finish it, well finally.... YES!

As of the first weekend in July, it has been doing nothing but rain. On the weekends, the only time I have to focus on this project, I have been lucky to get a few hours in before it starts raining again.

With summer slipping through again, I needed to recruit some help. Joseph gladly accepted my plea for help. Between the two of us, we where able to re-glass the cut trailer top, and prep and paint the interior top of the trailer and getting that finished by the end of August (all the while, still dodging raindrop). 

By the first week of September, the two of us sanded, and filled to the best of our ability, the top of the trailer, Joseph was able to correct some of the most noticeable imperfection, but it is a home built trailer after all, and cannot be as perfect as I hoped.  

We were able to get a primer coat on the top, and sanded, again, all the while dodging the damn rain.
After we finished, we then planned to paint the top with the base coat the next day. Well wouldn't ya know, a slow moving monsoon surge pushed its way into New Mexico the day we planned to paint the top, and did it ever pour! For 7 days straight, it rained and rained. Now we are in the third week of September, and no further along with painting the top than we were two weeks before.  My only option to keep the project moving, was to get the aluminum U channel tracks and get them riveted in for the wing dolly's and fuselage cradle.  

So, we are now in the last week of September, the temps are getting cooler, and we are seeing a drying spell settling in. If we are planning to get this top painted, we had to act fast. In New Mexico, Fall also brings the winds.

I had Joseph come by during the week, to get the base coat on, We sanded and prepped the primer to ready it for the basecoat before applying it, Then the next morning, Joseph came by and painted the beige (more yellow than beige) basecoat. 

Joseph wanted to give the basecoat a good day to dry in the warm sun before painting the white topcoat.

The next morning, the topcoat was finally applied to the trailer.  

After almost three years, this trailer was finally white.

Now comes the wait.. Due to the cool days and even colder nights, we needed a good two weeks for the top coat to cure fully before doing anything else with the trailer top.

So, while the tailer top was curing, the following weekend, Josephs attention was on dressing up the fenders and wheels. 

The days to follow, the trim was applied, and the trailer was taking on a new look.
The day has finally come!.. I was able to bring the trailer to Roberts hanger over the weekend, where Joseph and I sanded, washed the trailer down.

Next, we applied the Libelle name and Competition letters.

After the decals were added, we waxed the top and fenders.

Later that evening, I started the wiring of the lights.

By Sunday afternoon, the trailer was finished.

With lights, reflectors, and new handles added.

And a new interior with guide rails that work for a change!

So lets look back to the old,

and now the new!

Here is a bit of advise for those looking to buy a used glider. Make sure you will be happy with the trailer the glider is coming with, and make sure it is in great condition, or expect to suffer headaches at a cost.

An may God have mercy on your soul!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Update Status - The Trailer

Just a quick update

OMG! The tailer top and wheel covers are finally painted!

The complete story to follow!

I had to mention this since the full story is still in the writing!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Trailer! Part 11 - Bob that top! and change that jack!

Well here we are, again, back to redesigning the trailer. I knew there was some guess work on figuring out how much height was needed to the top to clear the wing root fairings. After the fairings were installed on the glider, and when Robert needed me to pack it back up into the trailer, I found that the top of the trailer was almost 10 inches higher than it needed to be. and when it comes time to mount sway stops for the wings on the top of the trailer, they would need to be long ones. Also, during the loading of the glider, the tongue jack will not raise the trailer high enough to allow the tailgate to drop low enough for the ramp to work.

So, I needed to cut the top down, and get a new Jockey wheel

So here we are again. With the trailer home, I remeasured the trailer top and cut the top off and shortened the side.  
 ...... and of course, as soon as I started the work... boom, boom, boom, the summer storms start there daily roll in, starting at noon till dusk!

Here is the new profile of the trailer.

Joseph has also been involved in securing the fiberglass top to the sides!... He has been a big help with getting this down between rain drops! 

With this new profile, the forward steel hoops needed to be re welded, ...

 and while we are doing that, lets get rid of the old Jockey wheel,

and replace it with a real adjustable one!

I also found adjustable stabilizer struts for the front and the rear of the trailer to stop the trailer from twisting when the top is up! 

Here are the front struts,.... 
And the rear struts.

I was able to cut the forward access hatch down to fit and located a locking T-handle that secures it.

And NAPA had a weatherstrip that fit perfectly in the opening!

So, off to Roberts for some welding lessons, and a remake of the fuselage ramp with a folding tailwheel track, and is adjustable! A far sight better than the original!

Starting to look promising!  

We are just about ready to paint the insides and I can then install the wiring.

What I find sick is, I've spent more time and money on this damn trailer than on the glider.
I'm told that we might be able to bring the glider back to the shop in a couple of weeks to continue the work!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Trailer! Part 10 - Damn that cradle!

Back last fall, I loaded the trailer with the glider after two years, and I found that after I corrected the cradle, it was just a bit too wide and the wings were resting too close to the sides of it.. Also, I found out the all of that expensive welding to modify the frame for the cradle was totally unnecessary.

Robert showed me how to make cart trucks for the cradle, which lowered the storage profile of the glider in the trailer. This was a design used back in the day, and today, with the all metal cradles.

Here is a sample of the simple caster wheel cradle truck.

....  verses my over worked metal one.

This design might correct the problem of the short nosecone holder that was screwed up when the frame was shortened against my instruction by the welder.

After a bit of rework to the cradle, here is the finished product!

 New caster wheels,

 ......   shortened sides, plenty of room on the side to keep the wings from hitting them.

Let's compare .

........ the old style

........and the new style ...

I know that I will be discarding the original rail, which will need to be refabricated to accommodate the narrow wheel base. But I also found that I needed to get the glider further out of the trailer.

Why is it that I get help after I did the work?

I hope those reading this are learning from my mistakes!  ;-)

This could save you from wasting a lot of time and money..

So!,... what's next... Oh yeah, time to bob the top of the trailer.